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  • November 2016

    Renu Singh and Protap Mukherjee

    Education Trajectories: From Early Childhood to Early Adulthood in India

    Country Report

  • Education Trajectories: From Early Childhood to Early Adulthood in India

    Renu Singh and Protap Mukherjee

    © Young Lives 2016 ISBN 978-1-909403-82-6

    A catalogue record for this publication is available from the British Library. All rights reserved. Reproduction, copy, transmission, or translation of any part of this publication may be made only under the following conditions:

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    Young Lives, Oxford Department of International Development (ODID), University of Oxford, Queen Elizabeth House, 3 Mansfield Road, Oxford OX1 3TB, UK

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    Contents The authors 4   Acknowledgements 4   Summary 5   11.. Introduction 7   22.. Background of the education system in India 7  

    2.1 Policy background 8   2.2 National statistics 12  

    33.. Methodology 19   3.1 Data 19   3.2 Tests in the Young Lives study 20   3.3 Sample 21   3.4. Main variables 22  

    44.. Educational outcomes: gaps over time 47   55.. Achievements and challenges in education 49   References 53   Appendices 55  

    Appendix A 55   Appendix B 55   Appendix C 56   Appendix D 57   Appendix E 58   Appendix F 59   Appendix G. Timeline of key educational initiatives and policies 60  



    The authors Renu Singh has over 25 years’ experience in teaching, teacher education, education policy

    analysis and research, both in India and abroad. Trained as a Montessorian and special educator, her doctoral study was on the inclusion of marginalised children. Her special interests remain early childhood development, teacher education, inclusion and gender. She

    has held a number of prestigious positions at NGOs, including Save the Children, and in university departments. She has also advised the Indian Government by serving on a variety of working groups, committees and boards. She is currently the Country Director at Young

    Lives India and Visiting Professor at Jamia Millia Islamia University, New Delhi.

    Protap Mukherjee is a Quantitative Research Associate at Young Lives India. He has an

    MSc in Geography from Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi and an MPS (Master of Population Studies) from the International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS), Mumbai.

    He also has research experience at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Before joining Young Lives, he worked at IIPS, the National Population Stabilisation Fund, Microsoft Corporation India and Jawaharlal Nehru University.

    Acknowledgements We are grateful to Santiago Cueto for providing the framework and useful comments on the

    early draft of this paper, and to Alejandra Miranda for rendering his support to us during the writing of this paper.

    About Young Lives

    Young Lives is an international study of childhood poverty, following the lives of 12,000 children in 4 countries (Ethiopia, India, Peru and Vietnam) over 15 years.

    Young Lives is funded by UK aid from the Department for International Development (DFID).

    The views expressed are those of the author(s). They are not necessarily those of, or endorsed by, Young Lives, the University of Oxford, DFID or other funders.



    Summary This report draws upon Young Lives longitudinal data gathered in Andhra Pradesh and

    Telangana to trace the educational trajectories of two cohorts of children since 2002. From this data, it is clear that huge disparities exist in educational outcomes for children, based on

    wealth index, gender, location and dynamic poverty status. Stratification of better-off children and boys into private low-fee charging schools adds further to the inequity.

    Disparity begins in early childhood and we find that a large majority of children in urban areas

    were attending private schools, with only 9 per cent of the wealthiest children enrolled in

    public schools. Using poverty dynamics analysis we find that the percentage of children who were not enrolled in school at age 5 is 18 percentage points lower for those from chronically poor households, and that only 1.4 per cent of children from these households were enrolled

    in private school, as against 58 per cent of those from least-poor households. These differences impact on learning outcomes at a young age: while children attending a private preschool achieved an average score in PPVT (Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test – an

    instrument used to measure receptive vocabulary) of 33.3, public preschool children scored only 21.7. Children attending private preschools therefore appear to have an advantageous start compared to those attending public preschools (either because of characteristics of the

    schools themselves, or the children’s background characteristics), something which then has long-term effects on their mathematics achievement at ages 8 and 12.

    While enrolment among both the Younger Cohort (born in 2001-02) and Older Cohort (born

    in 1994-95) at age 8 was close to universal (99.3 per cent and 98.3 per cent respectively), by

    the age of 12 there was a larger number of the Younger Cohort enrolled in school (97.4 per cent) compared to the Older Cohort (90.8 per cent). In addition to this, we also observe a slow but steady increase in enrolment to private schooling, particularly for children from the

    wealthiest families and socially advantaged groups of children: in 2009, 50.5 per cent of the Younger Cohort were enrolled in private schools, but only 24.7 per cent of the Older Cohort at the same age (8 years) in 2002. This is a trend that has been also observed across other

    Indian states and internationally, raising potential concerns about the segregation of poorer children in public schools.

    Concurrently, we also find that the number of children who are ‘overage’ (i.e. they are older

    than expected for the grade they are in) is much higher among the Younger Cohort at age 8 and age 12 than the Older Cohort at the equivalent age, which is very surprising. Since 2010,

    as a result of the Right to Education Act (RTE Act), there is a ‘no detention’ policy in schools which we would expect to have led to a decrease in repetition of grades. The increase in private school enrolment could be a possible reason for this continuation, since these

    privately run schools, particularly in rural areas, remain unregulated.

    Despite increasing enrolment, we observe a dip in learning levels for the 12-year-olds in

    2013, as against 12-year-olds in 2006. Mathematics test scores remain lower for Younger Cohort children, raising issues related to learning outcomes and suggesting that the focus to

    date has been on access rather than quality assurance.

    At age 15, approximately 23 per cent of the Older Cohort children were no longer enrolled in

    school. This highlighted both gender and poverty dimensions: while two out of five girls from chronically poor households were likely to not be enrolled in school at age 15, only one out of

    ten girls were out of school among the least-poor households. In terms of cognitive



    achievement scores for mathematics and reading at age 15, the pattern is similar to that observed for middle childhood, with relatively small differences by gender, but large differences seen by place of residence, maternal education and baseline wealth index.

    Overall enrolment in private schools at age 15 is marginally higher (27.7 per cent) than observed at age 12 for the Older Cohort, but with very large differences according to wealth status, level of maternal education and caste. More boys are found to be enrolled in private

    schools than girls across the wealth quintiles, with three out of four boys and more than half the girls (57 per cent) belonging to the consistently least-poor households enrolled in private schools at age 15. We also find that more girls had dropped out of school by age 15, among

    chronically poor households (46.6 per cent), compared to a much smaller proportion (9.1 per cent) from the least-poor households.

    By age 19, around 71 per cent of the Older Cohort had completed secondary education and

    around 28 per cent of the sample had dropped out of school – the majority of whom